About "Community Science Action Guides"
How can teachers engage students with science issues that are meaningful
in their local communities? This question sparked the development of the
"Community Science Action Guides. The Franklin Institute Science Museum and the Science Museum, London invited sixteen teachers to participate in a collaborative exploration of this idea. Working with students at their schools in the US and UK, the teachers each selected a science content area that had local context.
For example, in Houston, Texas, where the oil industry supports the community's livelihood, students explored alternative energy sources and learned about the depletion of fuel supplies.
In Florida, where tourism is vital to local economies, students investigated
the impact water usage at local hotels.
The resulting "Community Science Action Guides" are content packages that support student investigation of local science issues. Developed and tested by these teachers, known as Online Museum Educators, the "Guides" include planning resources, activities, and ready-to-use materials.
The Online Museum Educatorswhose activity is made possible by support from Unisysparticipated in online conversations throughout the resource development process, sharing their diverse perspectives on community science issues and offering support to one another.
Because the participants cross school levels from primary through secondary, the "Community Science Action Guides" offer resources for teachers at any level. The "Guides" are arranged in the gallery from primary up through secondary levels. However, several of the resources in the middle reach across many interest levels.
The collected "Guides" offer a wide variety of resources and approaches. Some of the resources provide background information while others offer tips for conducting community action projects. The content areas are color-coded, with all resources relating to water using blue, energy using green, and life science using red. Pick one color and follow it through the gallery and you'll find an upward spiral of activities that build on ideas from earlier grade levels.
For a description of each of the content packages, visit the Index. Also be sure to visit the authors page where you'll meet each of the OMEs who participated in the development of "Community Science Action Guides." They spent eleven months working on the project, having started with a late Summer (2001) visit to the Museums and finishing up the following Summer (2002) as the school year ended. During the school year, they tested ideas back in their classrooms, participated in online conversations, and developed their webpages.
Since teachers are the primary audience, the "Community Science Action Guides" resources have been mapped against the U.S. National Science Education Standards. Teachers who use the "Guides" with students will find themselves attending to several strands of the Standards. To see the connections, visit the U.S. Standards section.
Additional information about the Online Museum Educators program is available at The Franklin Institute Online.